“Whereas ordinary generosity came from a desire to give something to someone, Eleanor’s philanthropy had come from a desire to give everything to anyone. The sources of the compulsion were complex. There was the repetition syndrome of a disinherited daughter; there was a rejection of materialism and snobbery of her mother’s world; and there was the basic shame at having any money at all, an unconscious drive to make her net worth and her self-worth converge in a perfect zero.”
This is the precision of St. Aubyn’s observation. It goes without saying that every idol has feet of clay; the horror of his characters’ experiences, despite the comforting, swaddling, enabling buffer of privilege confirms that. But the careful and patient exploration of exactly what sort of clay those feet are composed of constitutes the major part of his wit.
May 03, 2012, 5:10pm Comments